Today, the Sacramento Kings, in partnership with the Sacramento County Office of Voter Registration and Elections, announced Golden 1 Center will serve as a Vote Center this Fall, allowing voters to register to vote and cast their ballots while practicing social distancing. The Kings will also provide staff volunteers to serve as poll workers at the Vote Center during the eleven days it will be open to the public leading up to the General Election, October 24 to November 3. In addition to providing the arena at no cost to the County, the team will also provide free parking in the Downtown West Garage to individuals accessing the Vote Center.
“The Kings are dedicated to using our platform to encourage civic participation and engagement,” said Sacramento Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “We are proud to provide a location in the heart of downtown with increased accessibility and opportunity to socially distance while promoting the importance of voting.”
Golden 1 Center is the first professional sports venue in the state to announce plans to serve as a Vote Center. At the Vote Center, individuals will be able to vote in person on all eleven days the center will be open, drop off a completed ballot, get a new ballot to take home, register to vote, update registration, receive language assistance and/or use an accessible ballot marking device to vote. In response to COVID-19, the site will follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health department recommendations, including protocols for disinfecting shared spaces, signage for required social distancing standards and traffic flow, posted reminders about proper hand hygiene, and appropriate PPE requirements, such as cloth face coverings, for all election officials.
“We are incredibly excited to work in partnership with the Sacramento Kings and the Golden 1 Center to host a Vote Center for the November election,” said Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey. “Access to a large, state of the art facility such as Golden 1 Center helps us ensure accessibility and proper social distancing, while also providing our residents the voting services they need. We’re grateful to the Sacramento Kings for reaching out to us to help facilitate this partnership.”
In addition to its partnership with the County, the Kings are working with the California Secretary of State’s office to amplify poll worker recruitment and education efforts, increase awareness around voting timelines and requirements, and host a virtual voter registration workshop for employees.
“As elections officials work to educate the public on elections changes and to identify new voting locations and poll workers, we need partners like the Sacramento Kings” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Having trusted community partners like the Kings amplify and facilitate civic participation is invaluable as we confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This partnership shows that Sacramento Proud extends beyond the basketball court. The Kings’ leadership helps build a more inclusive democracy—this is a slam dunk for the Sacramento region and beyond.”
The Kings have a history of encouraging active civic engagement and recently committed to providing employees a paid day off for election days. In 2018, the Kings launched and led Rally the Vote, a group of nine sports franchises across the NBA, NFL and MLB in a coordinated nonpartisan effort to encourage fans to register to vote. The effort reached millions of people by leveraging team social media platforms and registered thousands of voters in the month leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. Soon, the team plans to relaunch a nonpartisan coalition of professional sports teams working together to improve voter registration and turnout in November in partnership with national nonprofits focused on raising public awareness around voter participation and using sports as a lens to promote the importance of voting.